To me, the idea of America deploying its full military might involves more bombs in the air than people on the ground, which in turn equates to more of the hilariously termed 'collatoral damage'.
America could, if it wanted to, wipe out every insurgent and insurgent-to-be on the face of the planet, but it would involve something akin to Total War rather than a regional conflict.
The author seems to confuse this. He writes as if advocating a WWII style of conflict; total industrial, political and militaristic will directed towards one nice, clean ending whilst forgetting we're in 4G war now, baby.
There's a suggestion in a thread of Iran where Iran had claimed to have trained 40,000 suicide bombers for use against UK and US assets.
It suggested that for every suicide bomber on our home ground or that aimed at our interests we send over one little packet of instant sunshine to Iran. We'll see who gets bored first.
On a serious note that author doesn't acknowledge the impact on civilians or the impact on the country. The infrastructure in Iraq may be a mess but imagine if Baghdad had been done Berlin/Hamburg style. There is still not enough recognition of the impact this "total war" has on civilian populations - as well publisiced as the Blitz is our revenge for that seems to be almost overlooked as part of the overall war effort (with the exclusion of dresden).
Well said Crabby. What we did to the Germans broke their will. The Germans hit Britain hard and nasty but they were incapable of going on to the final hurdle and destroying the will to carry on. My father was in the German army and was moved into Hamburg to fight the firestorm of the big raid there, he didn't meet anyone who wanted to suffer that again.
But given the circumstances, the Nazi system or ours, sod it - there ain't no prize for second place.
Iraq and, at the moment Iran, is different. Limited war with limited objectives. Should the someone start threatening to fling nukes about the place the the rules would change, and no one would give a toss given the choice between their civvis and British civvis.
I think that is the point that this article missed.
Once you start giving them a surprise sunrise, tactically or otherwise, it ups the game and gives a 'legitimacy' to start doing more and more terrible things in response. Using concentional high-explosive ordinance and tactics such as deploying white phosphorous over insurgents have already attracted pretty scathing international attention.
As was pointed out, the thing this author seems to miss is that war isn't a neatly cut, precision instrument that can take out a terrorist queuing for his lottery ticket. It is the proverbial elephant standing on your bathroom scales.
The other point the author has missed is that is the US ups the ante, so will the opposition. Indiscriminate and widespread use of firepower recruits for the enemy, and legitimises more and more extreme actions on their part.
The first is that this guy seems to be transfixed with idea of power for power's sake. He has completely forgotten the teachings of almost every thinker on war, from Sun Tsu and St Augustine to Clauswitz- that war is ultimately a political act and therefore should serve some sort of political purpose. The idea is to make things better, rather than worse. The fact of the matter is that in the political realm, there is no objective "reality", all that matters are perceptions.
In Iraq, America is fighting as much for the legitimacy of its war effort as for victory in war. In fact, legitimacy may be the more important goal. If a military victory makes us look like an imperialist nation bent on occupying and raping the resources of a poor brown nation, then victory would mean less because it would have no legitimacy.
This is the one part that he has right. What we might be seeing here is a hardcore realist beginning to accept (or perhaps lament might be a better term) the idea that there is a global civil society that can impose restrictions on the way states behave, even in the absence of an enforcable international law- that there are certain ways of doing things and, to use the language of The Club, "this sort of thing is just not done".
The second point relates more to the War on Terrrrrrrrr as a whole (although it is now pertinent for the situation in Iraq). If there was a military solution to terrorism, then Israel would be the most secure nation on Earth- just something to think about.